Sunday, September 23
It's Kindermusik class and time to begin. You are still coming up the stairs when you hear the "Hello" song being sung. "Ahhh....we are LATE again! I wish my son would just hurry up and get in the car when I need him to."
or how about this one....
"It's the 3rd Kindermusik class of the semester and my daughter is still not sitting still during the story time....she goes right up and stands in front of the book so no one else can see. Why won't she sit on her bum like all the other kids?"
and then there's....
"My son refuses to go get the instruments in the middle of class. I always have to get them myself. What is the problem?"
Does this one sound familiar?
"My daughter starts acting up the minute I walk into the class for parent sharing time!! I certainly hope she's not like this when I'm not here!!"
This past week I have had conversations with several parents about these and other situations. It's hard being a parent, knowing what to do when your hopes for what you want to see happen don't match up with your child's challenges. My experience as a mother tells me that we all want the best for our children, and yet they aren't always in the same zone of wanting what we want for them - or seeing the need for it, for that matter. What's a parent to do?
While it is important to have goals for your children, it's also important to recognize that your children come with a different set of gifts, strengths, and challenges than you. Additionally, they are also very young and haven't yet mastered, of course, the social scene of considering others' needs.
Coming to class and having the opportunity to explore these skills through repeated exposure is the best way to reinforce those lessons. They won't be perfect. They will want to respond to their impulses. But through patient reinforcement of the concepts we hope to nurture, they will make progress in time.
Just last week I saw a child who normally is VERY busy in class settle into a quieter routine about 20 minutes into class and then stay in that zone for the rest of the class. Modelling for several weeks brought about change in time. Still a work in progress.
And then there was a conversation with a mother whose daughter last year would not leave her side, get instruments from the middle, or give me eye contact. This year she dances, gets instruments, helps bring things back, and even comes up after class and gives me a hug! Huge progress!!
One thing we ALL need to remember is that each child is on a growth journey. Your child, in all likelihood, will have challenges that your don't see in other children. Or maybe you are reading this and are in that sweet spot of having your child love every moment of class and not really exhibitting anything you'd like to change just now. Please be patient as other families move through their moments of transition. I know you all remember what it's like to feel at your end of ideas, strength, and patience. Rather than wishing the challenges away, celebrate the successes as you see them and offer parents your unconditional support. One day you'll need it, too!
We are moving together to create a more caring, expressive, and community-oriented childhood while we foster our LOVE of making music! One day, one class at a time.